I’m going to be doing a different style preview for Wimbledon this year where I will be ranking the top 16 seeds and 4 other dark horses in order of how likely I believe they are to win the championships.
20. Elena Vesnina (#15 Seed) – I have Vesnina down so low just because of her form ever since the Indian Wells title and because all of the pressure that will on her to defend her semifinal points from last year, which are anchoring her top 20 ranking. I think Vesnina will be lucky too get two matches at this event so I have put her as my least likely to win the title of my selected players.
19. Dominika Cibulkova (#8 Seed) – Cibulkova has not been able to string it together at all this season, especially on the grass courts, which gives me a lot of doubt for Dominika considering how good she was looking this time last year. Cibulkova could string it all together over this fortnight but I just don’t see her doing much this time around.
18. Elina Svitolina (#4 Seed) – It may suprise people that I have put Svitolina so low on my rankings but I can’t see her doing anything at a grass court major. Svitolina struggles to get low for her shots and that is obviously something that you need to do on the grass courts. Another factor that made me rank her so low was that she drew Ash Barty in the first round, which would be tough for anyone but especially Svitolina.
17. Victoria Azarenka (Dark Horse) – This is my lowest ranked dark horse and I have put her at 17 because I don’t think that she is ready to be back winning grand slams so soon after maternity leave. If she had done well at her comeback tournament in Mallorca she would be higher but she was really struggling at that event and didn’t look fit enough.
16. Svetlana Kuznetsova (#7 Seed) – This is another player that people will be surprised to see so low but at Kuznetsova’s age I think that the ship has sailed for her to win a major on grass. This was never a tournament that Kuznetsova loved so I think that she will be glad when grass is over and we move back onto the hard court, where she has had great success.
15. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (#16 Seed) – I was very tempted to put Pavlyuchenkova a lot higher on the rankings but her momentum heading into this event and her grass curt form so far this season would leave me doubting myself if I put her higher. There is not much sound reasoning behind this decision especially considering how she played here last year but it’s just a gut feeling.
14. Agnieszka Radwanska (#9 Seed) – I think many people would have put Radwanska lower on the rankings but I have her at 14 because I know she can play incredibly well on grass. She has not been playing well at all this season and she has a tough first rounder against Jelena Jankovic but I would expect her to play well at an event where she has had a lot of success at in the past.
13. Johanna Konta (#6 Seed) – If I had done this a couple of days ago Konta would definitely put her in the top the of my rankings but the nasty fall she took two days ago in her Eastbourne quarterfinal causing her a thoracic spine injury make me pause. Her playing style does match up well to grass but it all depends on wether her injury holds up well.
12. Coco Vandeweghe (Dark Horse) – I know this is becoming a bit of a cliche and isn’t really a valid reason but I don’t think Vandeweghe is ready to win a grand slam yet. She could easily prove me wrong with her very strong grass court pedigree and with her new coach Pat Cash in tow but I don’t think she is mentally ready yet.
11. Simona Halep (#2 Seed) – It may also surprise people that I have put Halep this low on the rankings but, similar to Vandeweghe, I don’t think that she is in the right head space to win Wimbledon. I don’t think she’s quite gotten over a heartbreaking loss to Jelena Ostapenko in the final of Rolland Garros and, considering recent grass form, I think she would be happy with a quarterfinal.
10. Anett Kontaveit (Dark Horse) – Kontaveit has been playing fantastic tennis ever since the start of the clay season and she carried that straight into the grass season as she won her first WTA title a couple of weeks ago. I have put her at number ten because I don’t think that she will able to beat some of the players higher up on the list but if her draw breaks open then she could make a very deep run.
9. Jelena Ostapenko (#13 Seed) – I think most people would have put Ostapenko around this rank because she could take the title by storm but she is just as likely to hit 70 unforced errors and bomb out in 40 minutes in the first round. She doesn’t seem to be to bothered by the pressure of backing up her French Open win and she is just hitting freely and going for broke like always, and it seems to be working for her.
8. Angelique Kerber (#1 Seed) – I have put our world number one down at number eight in my rankings despite her good play in Eastbourne because she hasn’t been performing well in the big moments so far this year. She is defending final points here but it is doubtful that she will get there considering that she hasn’t got a win over a top 10 player this year.
7. Madison Keys (Dark Horse) – This is my highest ranked dark horse because I was really high on how she played throughout the grass court season season last year but she hasn’t done much this year since returning from injury in Indian Wells this year. It is questionable to put her this high in my rankings but she has a manageable draw and she could easily round into form at a tournament where she has had past success.
6. Venus Williams (#10 Seed) – I was really tossing up on wether to rank Williams higher or lower because I don’t know where she is mentally. You may know that she was involved in a car crash which resulted in the death of an elderly man and she is being sued over the accident, so that would obviously be very damaging mentally but no one will know how this will affect Williams personally until she steps onto court.
5. Kristina Mladenovic (#12 Seed) – It was very challenging to decide in which order to rank the next three players but I put Mladenovic at the bottom because she is the least experienced and her Wimbledon lead-up hasn’t been overly impressive. She has still had a superb season and I think that she will still make a deep run at the event but I don’t think she is the most likely to win.
4. Garbine Muguruza (#14 Seed) – Most people probably would have put Muguruza a bit lower on the rankings but I was inspired by how defiant she looked after she lost in her attempt to defend her French Open title. She took a VERY bad loss to Strycova in Eastbourne and that did leave me questioning but I have gut feeling things will come together for her at Wimbledon.
3. Caroline Wozniacki (#5 Seed) – I have put Wozniacki here on my rankings because of how good she looked in Eastbourne. She hasn’t played well AT ALL in the past at the All England Club but I believe that she is coming in with more confidence than what she has previously come in with so I think she is primed for a deep run.
2. Petra Kvitova (#11 Seed) – I almost feel bad for putting Kvitova so high on the rankings and expecting a deep run from her so soon after returning from a hand injury sustained in a horrific knife attack. She looked so good in her one grass court tournament that she played that it would be ignorant of me not too put her high on the rankings and be expecting something brilliant of her.
1. Karolina Pliskova (#3 Seed) – I don’t think think that their are any surprises to see Pliskova at the top of the ranking list because she has been arguably the best player of the year so far and the most consistent at the slams for the past 9 months. She has incredible grass court pedigree and can beat anyone on the surface when her serve is firing and she is playing well, which I would expect her to be doing here.